Dale E. Van Cor has partnered with a mechanical engineer in Massachusetts to test his patented nuts and bolts. (COURTESY)
WINCHESTER — Inventor Dale E. Van Cor has partnered with a mechanical engineer in Massachusetts to test his patented nuts and bolts.
Van Cor is a Winchester native and inventor who aims to revolutionize the world of nuts and bolts with a new fastener technology.
The technology, he said, results in fasteners that are stronger and more durable than standard nuts, bolts, pipes or any threaded connection.
He has designed five threaded connections, three of which have been patented.
Engineers have been resistant to adopt Van Cor’s wave thread nuts and bolts, however, and testing is vital to moving his product to market, he said.
Mechanical engineer Harrison Frye of Lowell, Mass., has been testing the Van Cor-designed threaded connections using fasteners made from a 3-D printer.
On Aug. 18, Frye pressure tested a wave threaded cap-and-tube connection that held 20 pounds of water pressure for one hour without using glue or gaskets.
According to Van Cor, this is part of phase one to establish a baseline using million-point wave threads on 3-D printed parts that will hold a sealed connection at 20 pounds per square inch for an hour.
Frye said he is testing how well the parts are made with a 3-D printer.
“Nothing is manufactured perfect, so there’s always a tolerance,” Frye said.
According to Van Cor, “Only one of the 10 models fully worked. The wave thread is a total surface contact thread, a new genre in physical connections. The goal is to relegate O-rings to secondary seals using the wave threads inherent sealing capacity. Gaskets do not have to be eliminated, just make them last forever. Remember the space shuttle Challenger exploded because of an O-ring failure.”
The advantages to the wave thread design is that there is total surface contact, which transmits vibration instead of absorbing it, and efficient heat conduction. They are also less prone to erosion because of the complete seal.
Frye said the best applications for this innovation would be in the construction of airplanes or space shuttles, machines in which weight and strength are extremely important.
“The reason being is that these threads are much stronger than traditional threads because they are fully contacting,” Frye said.
Despite the advancement this innovation brings the world of engineering and construction, engineers aren’t inclined to move away from traditional nuts and bolts. Frye agrees innovation often takes great skill to introduce.
“I would say the problem with traditional fasteners is they are not perfect and they are not perfectly optimized, but they are tested and they have hundreds of years of trust behind them and they are part of an extremely large industry,” Frye said.
Van Cor said he is shifting his focus right now from industry to the individual by drafting designs that can be downloaded online and then used to make parts on a 3-D printer.
The applications are plumbing, drainage, pneumatic and hydraulic connections and valves, he said.
Much like the personal home computer being a novelty in the 1980s, Van Cor believes the personal 3-D printer is an oddity, but said he thinks 3-D printers will soon become a more commonplace household item and will be used to make fasteners and other small parts for home repairs.
And 3-D printing allows for a variety of parts to be made on demand, he said.
Van Cor said it may take more time, but he believes his idea will eventually take hold and not let go.
“I have personally found something that is going to impact our technology that is going to be used for the next thousands years,” Van Cor said. “And I think that’s a pretty cool accomplishment.”